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Recycled Assignments Explained

December 5, 2019 | By Carly Cecil
Current Students

Some students may be confused by the violation category of Recycling Assignments in the Academic Misconduct Policy. They may think, “If I am the author of the work, how can that be plagiarism?” The concept of recycling of assignments, also known as self-plagiarism, can be misunderstood in higher education, so let’s take a closer look.

One of the primary goals of any academically written assignment is a learning outcome that results from the research and writing effort that goes into creating it. Therefore, the concern with recycling assignments is that a new learning outcome is far less likely to be achieved when using previously submitted content. In short, if you recycle part or all of an assignment that was previously submitted for course credit, you’re committing academic misconduct.

However, it may be permissible to incorporate previously used content if the student has received advance permission from their instructor. This should be done sparingly; the idea is to enhance the new assignment, not replace it. Review what you incorporate with your instructor before submitting it for a grade.

Finally, remember that previously submitted work must be cited. Page 211 of the 6th edition APA Manual discusses unpublished and informally published works, including university assignments. This is the general format for the citation:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of manuscript/assignment. Unpublished manuscript, University name/affiliation.

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